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Comment OpenSUSE is your bag (Score 1) 573

If you're coming from Windows, presumably, you want to use KDE because it's closer to Windows than GNOME is. And openSUSE is THE KDE distro to use.

It's got everything, it's supported by a large development community, it's stable, it has better QA than Ubuntu ever will, its software repositories are large and well-stocked, its GUI system management tools are very good (maybe the best). They also aren't prone to "radical" experiments in user interfaces like Ubuntu is.

I've used openSUSE for several years now after having had bad experiences with Mandriva and Ubuntu (specifically Kubuntu) in the past. No distro is perfect - currently I have issues with something on my system - I suspect the NVidia proprietary drivers and/or Firefox - that's causing frequent maxed out CPU situations. openSUSE 12.2 is the first time I've had issues of this sort. Previous releases have been perfect. Hopefully 12.3 will resolve these issues. And not everyone has them, just me and a couple other people in the openSUSE forums apparently.

But you can't go wrong with openSUSE. It's one of the top five Linux distros out there.

Comment A suggestion (Score 1) 786

Fuck dual-booting. Fuck secure boot.

Linux shouldn't care about people who want to dual boot their systems. The method of choice today is virtual machines. So forget about dual-booting - it's an obsolete technology that shouldn't control how the OS is designed.

Forget secure boot. This is going to be bypassed by someone anyway - someway, sometime. Let Linux users turn it off in the hardware BIOS and forget about it. People who think their computer's security is going to depend on this secure boot technology are living in a fool's paradise. Even if the technology is not actually cracked and bypassed directly, the mere complexity of the OS and the applications running on top it means it's going to be bypassed de facto in user space just as it is today.

Do we really need all this extra complexity and ONE COMPANY owning the "keys to the kingdom" (literally) - especially as someone pointed out, anyone with a credit card can get a key signed by them or just steal the key from them - just to deal with boot loader malware and the odd occasion when some hacker gets physical access to the machine and boots a Linux Live CD?


I go along with Linus on this - this is nonsense from Microsoft for Microsoft's own agenda and people who have been brainwashed into thinking secure boot must be mandatory are basically idiots who don't understand security at all.

I'm someone who goes against the current infosec mantra that security controls should not interfere with business goals. I think security goals are by definition PART of a business' goals. But in this case I think the complexity and lack of cost-benefit of this particular security technology should rule it out.

If you want secure boot, then make it totally VENDOR-INDEPENDENT. That's the only way this is going to work.

Comment Nice PR for Mandiant and Richard Beitjich (Score 4, Interesting) 137

While there's no doubt that there are hundreds of thousands of hackers in China (not surprising given the population there), and there is little doubt that many of them are going to be hacking the "Big Bad" (i.e., the U.S.), this is mostly a PR campaign for Mandiant and Richard Beitjich.

Beitjich has been bitching and moaning about China for years now. He won't be satisfied until the US is at war with China - not cyberwar, REAL war.

The problem is multiple:

1) First, there is my "security meme" which should be engraved on everyone's forehead:

"You can haz better security, you can haz worse security. But you cannot haz 'security'. There is no security. Deal."

This means there is no way to keep hackers out of your networks, given the state of the software and telecommunications industries in terms of software development. There is no secure software (short of some specific stuff used by the DoD - and I'm not sure about thee, as the saying goes) and no secure infrastructure. What one guy can make, another guy can break. This is history.

The consensus in infosec today is that the best you can do is try to detect a breach, react to it and contain it so the enemy doesn't get everything it's after. All attempts at "preventing" hacking are utterly futile.

2) Cybercrime is a "growth industry". It's where the narcotics industry was back in the first half of the 20th Century after the anti-drug laws were passed. It will continue to grow until the software and telecommunications industries change their development practices - and based on human resistance to change, this won't happen until cybercrime is ubiquitous and governments and corporations are nailed to a wall of loss.

3) As we used to say in Federal prison, "I hope you don't like it. What are you going to do about it?" i.e., China is a nuclear power. They have 200 or so nuclear warheads. So what is the US going to do to stop Chinese hackers from spying? Bomb them? Threaten them with trade sanctions and start a trade war - with China owning trillions of dollars of US debt and is the US biggest trading partner? The days are gone when the US can just stomp on countries they don't like. Iran is giving the US the finger over the sanctions on it. How much less is China going to be affected?

Finally, I view this whole situation as "leveling the playing field." This is related to 2) above. The U.S. has used its military and economic clout for a hundred years to overwhelm and push countries all over the world around. What is happening now is that the chickens are coming home to roost. The U.S. "intellectual property" (an oxymoron at best) regime is being looted - as it should be.

So nothing is going to change for at least the next decade, maybe two decades.

So as my meme says: Deal.

Comment Brilliant rant and completely true (Score 2, Insightful) 1110

All you need to know is - who the hell decided to call this crap on the side the "Charms Bar"?

Seriously? That alone disqualifies Windows 8 from being a usable operating system.

His list of four design elements that Windows 8 CLEARLY breaks is perfectly correct. A tablet and a desktop PC are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANIMALS. Mixing the UI metaphor is just stupid.

I don't think the notion of a "recall" is likely to be a useful suggestion. However, I think a "Service Pack" that makes some of the UI screwups "optional" is likely to be in Windows 8 immediate future, despite Microsoft's insistence that there won't be any more "Service Packs".

OTOH, there are enough third party utilities out there that attempt to correct some of the more egregious UI errors that maybe Microsoft will try to "tough it out". After all, as the guy says, anyone buying a new machine is pretty much going to be force-fed Windows 8, and we all know Microsoft couldn't care less about its customers.

I do agree that Linux is undergoing the same sort of stupidity. The Ubuntu Unity interface was roundly denounced by many Linux users. I didn't like a lot of the KDE 4.x changes when I shifted from KDE 3.x to 4.x and either never used the "features" that were added and in a couple cases disabled them.

I don't have an a priori problem with trying to improve PC user interfaces. I DO have a problem with making changes that no one has asked for, simply on someone's notion that "hey, this could be COOL!" "Cool" invariably leads to CRAP.

Comment Zero evidence for both contentions (Score 0) 159

First, there is ZERO evidence presented so far that Iran had anything to do with any cyberattacks on anyone.

Anyone in infosec knows how hard it is to attribute a given attack on a given party. There are just too many ways to fake an attack's origin. And the US government has not provided any direct evidence of Iranian involvement.

It's on a par with the ridiculous "Saudi ambassador assassination" claim. The lunatic involved in that case plead guilty, but there is still ZERO evidence that it had anything to do with the Iranian government, and far more likely had to do with the anti-Iranian terrorist group, the M.E.K., which the US, in its infinite wisdom, just took off the terrorist list thanks to "material support" from a number of US politicians - in violation of US anti-terrorist statutes prohibiting such activities.

As for the drone, it was Hizballah who ran the drone into Israel, not Iran. Iran may have supplied the drone, but that's no surprise. Iran has been supplying Hizballah with technology for some time. And deservedly so. Hizballah is the only thing that has kept Israel out of Lebanon for the last decade. Israel tried to destroy Lebanon in 2006, but failed miserably. It will try again. In fact that is the reason for the Syrian crisis - to degrade Syria's military sufficiently to allow Israel to cross into Syrian territory to attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley.

Apparently the conventional wisdom is that the US is allowed to attack anyone, anywhere, any time, with any means - but even the hint of retaliation is grounds for being declared a "terrorist" and then being either droned to death or outright invaded.

Finally, I will repeat the FACTS about Iran's nuclear energy program:

1) There is ZERO evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. This is agreed on by both all 16 US intelligence agencies AND Israel's intelligence agencies (Netanyahu and Obama notwithstanding.) And for the SEVENTY PERCENT of the US population who thinks Iran already HAS nuclear weapons - well, intelligence was never the US electorate's strong suit...

2) There is ZERO evidence that Iran ever HAD a nuclear weapons program, except as the DIA says a likely "feasibility study" back when Iran was afraid Saddam had such a program. And Iran ended that program, quite logically, when the US overthrew Saddam and handed Iran major influence in Iraq.

3) Iran has no strategic or tactical need for nuclear weapons, and couldn't use them as a deterrent against either the US or Israel if it had them. And the Iranians know this and have said so repeatedly.

4) Iran has never threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", no matter how many times you've read that alleged "fact" in the media.

5) Iran's military posture is strictly defensive. They rely on "soft power" projection for influence in the region, including supporting Shia communities in Lebanon and the GCC, and seek good relations with all the countries in the region (except Israel, of course.) They haven't attacked anyone in hundreds of years. Israel has attacked someone in every decade since the 1940's. The US - don't even ask...

6) Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, has not joined the NPT, refuses to allow its nuclear capabilities to be monitored, and has threatened to use nuclear weapons on its neighbors in the past. It is the only country with a nuclear second strike capability and the ability to threaten countries outside the region with nuclear weapons via its submarine fleet. In fact, it has been suggested that the sole reason for Israel to have nuclear weapons - an unnecessary addition to its conventional military capability compared to the nations on its borders - is to be able to threaten the WEST should the need arise - which it did in 1973 when it threatened to nuke the Aswan Dam if the US did not re-supply it during the 1973 war. Hint: The US caved.

7) The bottom line: Iran is not toeing the US line and interferes with Israel's ability to gobble up countries on its borders in the insane Zionist quest for "Eretz Israel" (WHO are the REAL "mad mullahs" is a valid question.) Therefore the US and Israel intend to degrade Iran until it is no longer an effective geopolitical actor in the region. This was the goal with Iraq. It is the goal with Iran. And just like the bogus Iraq "WMDs", there is no Iranian "nuclear threat" - and never will be. But the people who run the US - the military-industrial complex, the oil companies, the banks who finance them, the neocons and corrupt politicians who are owned by them, and Israel and its massive Lobby in the US - fully intend to attack Iran as soon as they've degraded Iran's potential allies in that war - Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon.

It will ignite a regional war, it will cause an oil price spike that will devastate the US economy (except those in the military-industrial complex who get paid directly from US taxpayers), and it will result in a million or three civilian deaths and thousands of US military casualties. All so a handful of rich people can get richer and some fanatics in Israel can get rid of one of their enemies.

Comment "Evidence suggests"... (Score 1, Troll) 306

No, it doesn't, because absolutely NO evidence has been presented.

If I have to choose between the Iranian government (as opposed to some random Iranian hackers) doing deliberate DDoS attacks on US banks - since they presumably know Pentagon doctrine has such attacks justifying a military strike on the perpetrator - and some nameless *cough, Israel, neocons,cough* propagandists touting this notion as another excuse to attack Iran, I'll back the latter. Another highly likely probability I'd be will to bet on over Iranians doing this is that Israeli hackers are doing this - AND on command of the Israeli intelligence agencies.

Ninety percent of what the IAEA has been reporting since Amano took office as its head as "evidence" of an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been exposed by former IAEA investigators such as Robert Kelley and journalists such as Gareth Porter as utterly bogus. We know from Wikileaks cables that Amano is totally in the pocket of the United States with regard to the Iranian file.

There remains ZERO evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program and almost zero evidence that they ever had even before 2003 - when every one of the 16 US intelligence agencies agree Iran stopped the "feasibility studies" they allegedly undertook prior to 2003 (because they were afraid Saddam had one.)

Until some sort of evidence is presented, I dismiss this latest as just more anti-Iran propaganda.

Comment Re:How does that differ from the status quo? (Score 1) 187

"With supervision or after formally abandoning the NPT, hence the "pick any two" statement."

They ARE under full supervision.

"This was after Iran confirmed production of Po-210 in 2003, outside of IAEA supervision."

That is not correct. Iran never was outside of IAEA supervision. What they did was fail to inform the IAEA of setting up production allegedly within a given window of time. And that has nothing to do with whether Iran should have been provided with the TRR fuel. They were denied fuel before and had to buy it from Argentina, if I remember correctly, ten years before the 2009 request. The West nuclear powers are obligated under the NPT to assist Iran in obtaining that fuel (which is not capable of being processed into a weapon anyway.)

"Waiting until delivery would have allowed Iran more time with a large enough stockpile to begin weapons production."

Bullshit. Iran already had enough stockpile to build weapons. The alleged goal of the deal was to reduce the stockpile enough so that Iran could not do so. But since Iran obviously was continuing to enrich during the year or two it would take to deliver the fuel, that situation would always be the case. Therefore the excuse was bogus. The REAL goal was to get the LEU out of Iran and then renege on delivering the TRR fuel.

"The stockpile had grown to the point that using the original fuel swap numbers would still leave Iran with a large enough stockpile of material to begin weapons production."

As I said, that would have been true regardless because Iran would continue to enrich anyway. There was no attempt to make the deal require Iran to stop enriching - which they would not do anyway.

"P5+1 includes Russia and China, so my original question stands: how would the proposal of a "fuel bank" be different from the status quo?"

Iran has no reason to trust Russia. China, maybe. But the big power tend to make deals with each other with exclude smaller powers. Iran can't trust any major power not to make a deal with the US which harms Iran's interests - especially since they have so much experience with precisely that behavior.

"And why do you keep lumping Russia and China in with "the US" to begin with?"

I don't - except as described above. Russia and China look out for their own interests, and if they need to make a deal with the US which excludes Iran, they will. If I were Iran, I wouldn't trust them either. Not to mention that no one takes the "P5 + 1" seriously anyway - it's the US and the US alone (with urging from Israel) which is making policy in this area. England, France and Germany are merely the US "poodles" and Russia is trying to balance it's relations with the US with its relations with Iran.

"These complicated treaty obligations would go away if Iran formally withdrew from the NPT. And then the Saudis would do the same about two second later, which is exactly why Iran is going through with this charade of non-compliance compliance to begin with."

The Saudis could spend billions and never get nuclear weapons - even if the US, as has been agreed in principle, would allow the Saudis domestic enrichment. They would always be decades behind Iran, just as Iran is decades behind Israel.

Iran has no desire to withdraw from the NPT - unless of course it does them absolutely no good to be in the NPT, which is what the West is trying to accomplish.

Even if Iran withdrew from the NPT, they STILL would not make nuclear weapons. They have no need for, no use for, a lot of negatives against, and no interest in acquiring them. There may be some officials who would like to, but the Supreme Leader and numerous others have made it clear they disagree and they're in charge.

Comment Re:um no (Score 1) 187

Why do I believe Iran is not pursuing the bomb?

Because for TWENTY FIVE YEARS the West - especially Israel - has been claiming Iran if "five years from having the bomb". For TWENTY FIVE YEARS, since 1985.

And Iran STILL doesn't have a bomb.

In addition to which, Iran couldn't use them if they had them - and a number of Iranian politicians and observers both inside and outside Iran have said as much.

In addition to which, Iran doesn't need them, as none of their neighbors could conquer Iran without using nukes anyway. And only Pakistan HAS nukes and has no interest in attacking Iran, despite the Sunni-Shia divide between them.

The ONLY military threat to Iran is the United States (now that the US has turned Iraq over to political parties affiliated with Iran - nice work, George Dubya! :-) ) And Iran knows - and Ahmadinejad has said so explicitly - that it can never match the US in conventional military power, let alone nuclear power - and trying to develop nukes would only make the US even more threatening than it already is. Iran knows it cannot even match Israel in nuclear power given Israel's forty year lead and second strike capability. Maybe in a couple decades more Iran might be able to match Israel in submarines and missiles, but still not in nuclear warheads. And even if they did, a first strike would be out of the question given the US backing of Israel.

So no, Iran has no need of, no use for, and no interest in acquiring nuclear weapons. The only time they ever did was when they thought Saddam was going to get them.

And accusing me of disbelieving the West automatically is fucking insulting. That makes you the asshole. I have been following the Iran situation IN DETAIL for at least the last six years if not longer. I am fully aware of every Western accusation and I am fully aware of every WESTERN EXPERT who has poked holes in those accusations. You might try learning something about the issue before running off at the mouth.

Otherwise you're just another idiot who bought into the bullshit on Iraq and is now buying into the exact same bullshit about Iran.

Comment Re:um no (Score 1) 187

No, Iran isn't concerned about Israel because they know they can't match Israel's arsenal, let alone the US arsenal. Ahmadinejad has said so explicitly, and others have said so implicitly. I agree, they SHOULD be concerned about Israel's militarism, but I still think Israel would not use nukes in a first strike on Iran because it would seriously damage Israel's already-low standing in the international community. First use of nukes since Hiroshima has been considered a no-no. Of course, that might not matter to Israel, but generally the leaders there do show some concern, such as when they got lambasted for the Mavi Marmara massacre. So I don't see Israel launching a nuclear first strike against anyone until they really are "existentially" threatened, which is highly unlikely to occur any time within the next few decades given Israel's lead in nuclear weapons.

And no, Iran does not want and couldn't use nukes if they had them. And both Iran's leaders and numerous Iranian observers inside and outside of Iran have said so. Iran is not India and not Pakistan. They have an entirely different view of what they need to do to project power in the region. They rely on "soft power", not military power and it has served them well so far. Getting nukes would simply make their neighbors more fearful of Iran and they don't want that. None of their neighbors are in a position to conquer Iran given Iran's size and population and military strength and Iran knows it. The only serious military threat to Iran comes from the US and Iran cannot dissuade the US from attacking it either conventionally or unconventionally by possessing nukes. Indeed it would merely increase the US threat if Iran actually had a nuclear weapons program, given that the US is currently threatening Iran over a NON-EXISTENT program.

Not to mention that both Ayatollah's have issued religious edicts against the use of weapons of mass destruction which would be hard (but not impossible) to walk back by any future hardline Supreme Leader.

Comment Oh, yeah? (Score 1) 371

"whatever is on your screen, there is probably a way to send it to whatever form of the afterlife is reserved for unwanted Desktop Crud"

Well, on KDE 4 on openSUSE 12.1, I have these screen tips that show up on the programs I have open in the panel. Every time my mouse gets near the panel - such as when I'm TRYING to click on something low on the screen and I overshoot a bit - they pop up and obscure what I want to click on. If I move the mouse a bit I can get rid of the obscuring screen tip but it's incredibly irritating to do this fifty times an hour!

And as far as I can tell, there is NO WAY to get rid of those screen tips without ALSO getting rid of them in the System Tray - which I do not want. I want screen tips on the utilities in the System Tray, just not on open programs. I understand why they're there, of course - if you open a lot of programs on one desktop, the open program display gets scrunched down and you'd need the popups to switch from program to program - except I use Alt-Tab for that when that happens. But I want the ability to selectively remove those screen tips while leaving the ones on the utilities in the System Tray which show useful info like the clock.

So no, you can't get rid of anything and everything.

Still, it's way better than Windows, I agree.

Comment Re:How does that differ from the status quo? (Score 3, Informative) 187

And they are fully justified in requiring at least some of the processing being done on Iranian soil.

Several NATO countries have reneged on nuclear technology deals over the past thirty years, mostly as a result of US pressure.

Russia itself delayed and delayed the Bushehr project for various reasons.

When the Tehran Research Reactor came up for re-supplying in 2009, the US and NATO refused to supply fuel on the open market as is REQUIRED by the NPT. This lead to negotiations in fall of 2009 which resulted in an ultimatum to Iran to ship out all of its low-enriched uranium stock in exchange for the TRR fuel - WITHOUT any guarantee that Iran would actually get that fuel. Iran naturally refused this offer and made a counteroffer to exchange the LEU at the time of delivery of the TRR fuel, with the LEU being held in Turkey or elsewhere under IAEA seal. The US refused.

So Iran went ahead and began enriching to 20% to produce the TRR fuel itself in January or February of 2010.

Then Brazil and Turkey tried to make a deal with Iran similar to the deal it offered in November/December of 2009. Obama wrote a letter to the Brazilian President outlining the details of a deal the US would accept. The Brazilians and Turks got the deal with Iran. The US then refused the deal under the spurious notion that since Iran's stockpile of LEU had gotten bigger in the meantime that the deal was no longer acceptable.

Iran has every reason to distrust the US because it is clear from the behavior of the US over the years that it has no serious interest in negotiating a genuine resolution of the issue. The nuclear issue is merely an excuse being used by the US to justify extreme sanctions and an upcoming military attack on Iran. The real reasons for this process is the US and Israeli desire for hegemony in the Middle East. Iran (and to a lesser degree Syria which is why Syria is in trouble now) is the only country in the Middle East not beholden to the US for foreign aid, weapons and security. The US and Israel will not rest until Iran, Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon are "brought to heel."

Comment Re:um no (Score 3, Insightful) 187

Iran is being fully monitored by the IAEA and the IAEA continues to confirm absolutely no diversion of any Iranian nuclear material to any weapons-related program.

There is absolutely ZERO evidence that Iran is doing anything not permitted by the NPT. There is almost zero evidence that they have EVER done anything not permitted by the NPT.

The sole reason for suspecting Iran had a nuclear weapons program was, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency position (which did not make it into the 2007 Iran National Intelligence Estimate, but is undoubtedly correct), when Iran was concerned that Saddam Hussein had one. Apparently the Ayatollah Khamenei authorized a "feasibility study" to see what Iran would need to do to develop a nuclear weapon if Iraq did. Iran was unconcerned about both Israel's nuclear arsenal and the US nuclear arsenal, because they knew those arsenals were "constrained" by international consensus. Saddam's was not.

Once the US destroyed Iraq in 2003, Iran clearly no longer needed even a feasibility program and that is why, as all the intelligence agencies agree, Iran stopped its program in 2003.

For facts about Iran's nuclear program and the real reasons that the US, NATO and Israel are pressuring Iran, follow the following Web sites:

Comment If you're handcuffed by the Feds... (Score 1) 172

none of this will work. (Don't ask how I know...)

When the U.S. Marshals cuff you for transport, you get leg irons plus handcuffs plus a key-locked box placed over the handcuffs so you can't get access to the handcuffs at all. Good luck getting out of that unless you're Houdini (or at least well-trained in escape magic and have the proper tools secreted up your butt.)

However, local cops do screw up. A handcuff key stuffed in a money belt behind you is quite likely to be missed in a frisk, even if they suspect you have hidden weapons (again, don't ask how I know.) If you're cuffed with your hands behind you or if you have such a key hidden both in front and behind you, your odds improve.

There are little plastic handcuff keys being sold now (although supposedly only to law enforcement) which are very small and not detectible by magnetic search. Buy (or make) a couple and stash them in your money belt or taped to your tool or whatever.

Keep in mind that if you're being transported by two cops, unless you have a derringer stuffed up your butt, you're likely to get shot once you pick the cuffs and try to flee... When the Marshals transport you, there's usually a chase car following behind the transport van, too.

If you're being flown somewhere, the Marshals will usually have several Marshals with shotguns standing around when you're being moved from the van to the plane. So unless you're Bruce Payne in the movie "Passenger 57" (and that was a commercial flight, not a Marshals Service flight), or Nick Gage in "Con Air", you're not likely to beat that either.

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